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Napa County | Napa Valley AVA | Biodynamic Overview

AVA Essentials

• Curiously, the most famous fine wine region in California—Napa— has just three biodynamic vineyards. (In comparison, Sonoma County, its neighbor to the west, has 11) .  


• With its world renowned, Cab-friendly soils and climate, all three producers produce acclaimed wines ($95-550), ranging from Rutherford soils in the valley, to volcanic soils from a special spot in Calistoga and higher elevation vines on Howell Mountain.


• Notably, all three of Napa's biodynamic vineyards have deep connections to Burgundy and Bordeaux, where leading producers are beginning to embrace biodynamic practices more and more. 


• Denise and Stephen Adams of Adamvs own two Bordeaux estates and make wine with Philip Melka, a French winemaking consultant who lives in Napa. 


• François Pinault, the owner of Chateau Latour in Bordeaux (and one of the wealthiest men in France), owns the Eisele Vineyard which he purchased in 2013.


• Burgundy born Jean-Charles Boisset (married to Gina Gallo), who owns Raymond Vineyards (as well as DeLoach in Sonoma) says he fell in love with biodynamics as a child, picking herbs with his grandmother in France. He is rapidly growing his biodynamic holdings in Napa.


• Estate wineries with biodynamic vines: 3


• Biodynamic vineyard acreage: 160


• Biodynamic case production (estimated):  3,700

Wineries

Howell Mountain AVA

• Adamvs


Napa Valley AVA

Eisele Vineyard


Rutherford AVA

• Raymond Vineyards

Tasting Rooms | Events

Angwin

• Adamvs (by appt.)


Rutherford AVA

• Raymond Vineyards (BD wine to purchase, no tasting)


Biodynamic Vines: Acres

• Raymond Vineyards: 94 (and 47 more in transition)

• Eisele Vineyard: 38

• Adamvs: 28

Biodynamic Vines: Varieties

• Cabernet Franc

• Cabernet Sauvignon

• Malbec

• Petit Verdot

• Sauvignon Blanc

• Syrah

• Viognier

Biodynamic Vines: Cases

• Eisele Vineyard: 3,500

• Raymond Vineyards: 150

• Adamvs: 75

Adamvs | Howell Mountain AVA | Angwin | California

Winery Overview

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Location


• Sources its estate wines from its 28 acres of organic and biodynamic estate vines on a prime Howell Mountain hillside site; it also buys non-organic grapes from Napa growers


• The winery and artful, architect designed tasting pavilion are on the Howell Mountain vineyard site


Best known for


• Elite Napa Cabernet producer with coveted hillside vineyards, an impressive team of A list vine growers and winemakers, and highly regarded, collectible Cabernets


• Makes one estate wine from certified vines ($325, 96+ pts.)


• Proprietors Stephen and Denise Adams, philanthropists (after a successful business career), purchased the vineyards in 2008, converting them to organic and biodynamic certification and building a new, state of the art winery and tasting room


• The name Adamvs is Latin for "of this red earth"; it's also a play on the Adams' name


• The Adams are no strangers to fine wine production; they also own two Bordeaux chateaux (also with certified organic vineyards) Château L’Enclos in Pomerol (next to Château Petrus) and Château Fonplégade, a grand cru estate in Saint-Émilion


• The red, volcanic soils on Howell Mountain are well known for producing some of Napa's best mountain grown Cabernets


• More than 80% of the estate vines are 25+ years old


• Sarah Donley makes the wine; she previously worked at Colgin and Wheeler Farms (owned by the Araujos, who sold their Eisele Vineyard to the owner of Chateau Latour)


• Noted Bordeaux wine expert Philippe Melka is the consulting winemaker


• In keeping with biodynamic farming, Adamvs integrates biodiversity and animals into its viticultural program, growing olive trees, raising bees for honey, and grazing a herd of cows on the property


• Critics and high end collectors alike have embraced the wines, impressed by their combination of vivacity and finesse


Organic and biodynamic vineyard case production


75 (out of 2,000 total) 


Certified


Estate vineyards, organic, 2011-2018, Stellar Certification Services; 2018-present, CCOF; biodynamic, 2011-present, Demeter USA

Wines

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ESTATE WINES


Certified Organic and Biodynamic Grapes


 Cabernet Sauvignon-Adamvs

Visiting | What to Expect | Contact

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$125

Vineyard tour (via Land Rover over steep hillsides) and tasting, accompanied by a generous cheese and charcuterie platter


CONTACT


Adamvs

501 White Cottage Rd N.

Angwin, CA 94508


707.965.0555


Website     |      Email

Map

Eisele Vineyard | Napa Valley AVA | Calistoga | California

Winery Overview

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Location


• Sources its estate wines from its 38 acre organic and biodynamic estate nestled under the Calistoga Palisades in the northeast corner of Napa Valley; it also purchases grapes from non-organic Napa growers for one wine


• The winery, housed in a picturesque barn, and caves are located on the vineyard site


Best known for


• Elite winery with one of Napa's most renowned vineyards, whose grapes have been made into acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignons since the 1960's; if Napa has Grand Crus, Eisele Vineyard is widely regarded as one of them


• Makes three wines from certified vines ($75-350, 90-99 pts.); the winery's fourth wine—Altagracia—is said to contain 80% organic and biodynamic grapes from the estate


• Starting as far back as the 1880s, the site grew wine grapes—Riesling and Zinfandel at first, which were common in Napa during the 19th and early half of the 20th century; in fact, some of Eisele's Pickett Road old school neighbors today still grow Zinfandel, even in Cab crazy Napa


• In 1964, the then owners planted Cabernet vines; five years later, when Milt Eisele retired from his job as a Kaiser Aluminum executive in Palo Alto, he and his wife Barbara bought the land and vineyard as their retirement residence


• The site sits at the confluence of two watersheds—Palisades and Saddleback—whose alluvial fans laid down a bed of mixed cobbly stones and rough sand, with a frosting of minerals on top—heaven for wine grapes


• In 1969, the Eisele's first year on the property, the couple began selling grapes to noted wineries; Mondavi and Joseph Phelps wasn't interested, but Ridge Vineyard was, making its 1971 Eisele Vineyard designate from the grapes—an empty bottle of that wine today graces a table near the winery's entryway


• Other wineries followed, including Joseph Phelps, who released Eisele Vineyard designate Cabs from 1975 through 1991


• In 1989, the Eiseles put their place on the market just when Bart and Daphne Araujo left southern California for Napa, after selling their company, A-M Builders, a giant home building chain; the Araujos bought the property in 1990


• The couple changed the name to Araujo Wine Estate and within a few years, began to transition to organic and biodynamic viticulture, aided by organic vineyard expert Steve Matthiasson and  biodynamic vineyard consultant Jeff Dawson (who went onto become Steve Jobs' gardener)


• In keeping with biodynamic practices, the Araujos introduced a few cows to graze the hillsides, planted 500+ olive trees and cultivated an intimate connection to the property, all the while making and improving beguiling, gorgeous wines—wines that seduced wine critics and collectors alike, attracting international attention


• in 2013, French billionaire and Kering Chair François Pinault, the owner of three prestigious French estates (including Chateau Latour in Bordeaux) came calling; in an unsolicited bid, he  purchased the winery, vineyard and house, bringing in his French team to oversee it


• The Araujos went on to purchase sites in Rutherford and Mount Veeder, starting a new label, Accendo Cellars, and a custom crush winery, Wheeler Farms


• Pinault, whose net worth of $35 billion places him 30th on the Forbes 500 List of the wealthiest people in the world, owns a long list of luxury brands ranging from Christie's, Gucci and Yves St. Laurent, and Charles Krug to Converse and Samsonite; his internationally famous art collection fills his two museums in Venice


• Loire native Helene Mingot is the estate’s technical director, managing the vineyards and winemaking; previously she worked in Napa for six years with French winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt


• The Araujo's original biodynamic consultant, Jeff Dawson, is also involved on an ongoing basis


• The estate grows some of the plants that go into biodynamic sprays


• The estate is also going to plant a small section of new vines that climb up poles, a technique known in France as echalas; the goal is to promote more even exposure to sunlight and to prevent sunburnt grapes


• The property now features a large vegetable garden for the employees and, around the main house, a formal French garden with box hedges


• Most of the wines go to the wine's mailing list members, but some is sent to select retailers and can be found online; prices increased significantly after it was acquired by Pinault through his Artemis Domaines


• The winery changed its name in 2016, reflecting the historic name of the estate vineyard site; wines from the 2013 vintage onward are now labeled Eisele Vineyard


• The winery is one of only three Napa vineyards with a certified biodynamic vineyard and it  was the earliest of the three to become Demeter certified, back in 2002


Organic and biodynamic vineyard case production


3,500 (out of approximately 6,000 total)


Certified


Vineyard, organic, CCOF, 2004; biodynamic, 2002, Demeter USA

Wines

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ESTATE WINES


Certified Organic and Biodynamic Grapes


Napa Valley AVA:


• Cabernet Sauvignon

• Sauvignon Blanc

• Syrah

• Viognier

Contact

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CONTACT


Eisele Vineyard

2155 Pickett Rd.
Calistoga, CA 94515

707.942.6061


Website     |     Email

Map

Raymond Vineyards | Rutherford AVA | St. Helena | California

Winery Overview

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Location


• Overall the winery has 94 acres of organic and biodynamic vineyards (with 47 more acres in transition) but makes only one wine solely from those vines; its biodynamic estate wine comes from a 1.5 acre block


• It sources grapes for most of its wines from conventional growers


• The wines are made in Napa


• Its tasting room is located in St. Helena, just south of the town proper


Best known for 


• High end Napa producer owned by the Burgundy based Boisset family; the Napa winery is best known for Cabernets along with its innovative visitor experiences and marketing


• Makes one wine solely from organic and biodynamic estate vines ($112)


• Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset, of the French wine giant Boisset Family Estates, bought the winery and 250 acre property in 2009, converting the Napa vines to organic and biodynamic certification


• Raymond is now the largest biodynamic estate in Napa and the only Demeter certified winery in Napa Valley—others have certified vineyards, not wineries—and will be releasing certified wines in the near future


• Boisset credits his interest in biodynamic practices to his childhood experiences with his grandmother in France, who kept alive the old farming traditions


• The winery was originally founded by the Raymond family in 1970; Roy Raymond, of the first generation of Raymonds in Napa, worked at Beringer as the winemaker from 1933-1970, before starting the original winery with his two sons


• In 2017, Boisset purchased an additional 55 acres from another old Napa family, the Bartolucci's, who had owned their Rutherford property since 1921, adding to Raymond's biodynamic holdings


• Today proprietor Jean Charles Boisset and his wife Gina Gallo are forging a new Franco-American wine dynasty spanning the globe; at home they reside with their twin daughters in a modern art filled estate (formerly the home of Robert Mondavi) overlooking Napa Valley


• Overall Boisset owns 31 brands including DeLoach VIneyards in Sonoma as well as the historic Oakville Grocery in Napa; in Sonoma, Gina Gallo owns the historic Dry Creek General Store


• The parent company Boisset Family Estates is France's third largest wine producer and has 25 brands in the USA and France


• In Napa, Raymond's estate vineyards are located on gravelly loam soils


• U.C. Davis educated Sophie Drucker oversees the vines; Stephanie Putnam (formerly of Far Niente) makes the wines


• The winery offers a wide variety of novel tasting experiences, including a blending workshop, a terroir driven tasting complete with rock samples from different vineyard soils, a racy Red Room, and its hallmark outdoor exhibit—the Theater of Nature, a walk comparing chemical, organic and Biodynamic farming practices in an educational garden setting


• The Wine Advocate gave the winery's 2014 Rutherford District Cabernet (its first made mostly from biodynamic vines) 96 points, calling it "truly remarkable and probably the best Raymond wine in many a year"


Organic and biodynamic vineyard case production


150 (out of 150,000 cases total)


Certified


Vineyard, biodynamic, Demeter USA, 2010; winery, biodynamic, 2016

Wines

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ESTATE WINES


Certified Organic and Biodynamic Grapes


• Bordeaux Blend-1.5 Acres


Note: The winery has plans to produce future vintages as Demeter certified wines.

Visiting | What to Expect | Contact

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The winery offers many different experiences. To taste the organic and biodynamically grown wine, select the Crystal Cellar tasting. Consult the winery about other options that may be available as well.


Free

Theater of Nature outdoor exhibits (walk in, exhibit only)


$35

Crystal Cellar (by appt.) (inquire if the 1.5 Acre is available to taste)


CONTACT

Raymond Vineyards

849 Zinfandel Ln.

St Helena, CA 94574


707.963.3141


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